Editorial

Jacqueline Watts (Editor in Chief)
editor@medicalsociologyonline.org


In this issue of MSo, our last for 2013, we have a variety of content that we hope readers will find engaging. As is customary for the October issue, we include a focus on the annual BSA MedSoc conference held this year in York. The conference attracted a record number of delegates and we are pleased to include commentaries containing reflections on the event from five of the sponsored delegates. Spotlight on the 2013 conference will extend to our next issue in February 2014 when we expect to publish papers from the two plenary speakers, Professors Catherine Pope and Sarah Cunningham-Burley.

This issue opens with two peer-reviewed articles each looking at different aspects of child health. David Ugal's article discusses maternal and child mortality in urban centres in Nigeria. The article reports that, despite government policy initiatives to address poor reproductive health indicators, there has been only minimal improvement in women's educational status and no improvement in other areas including vaccination against childhood killer diseases. The article by Emma Doyle from the University of Edinburgh has as its theme parents seeking advice about children's health in a dedicated online forum. The role of online peer support that focuses on experiential knowledge is highlighted to draw out the strength of 'lay' referral networks that serve as a significant source of health advice to parents.

The article we have selected from the MSN/MSo archive discusses gender, health and ageing and is authored by Professor Sara Arber from the University of Surrey. This was a plenary paper presented to the 1994 BSA MedSoc conference and Sara has contributed some thoughts on the ways in which some of the issues raised in the paper still resonate whilst others have become outdated. The final Book Review section has three reviews on recently published texts on the topics of class and lifestyle, causes of health and disease and the issue of gender and mental health. Book reviews are a good way to start being published and we would like to encourage postgraduate students and other early career researchers to consider submitting a short review for Medical Sociology online.

Unlike recent issues of MSo, we do not have any PhD abstracts to include so please send us these 'good news' pieces that help to update the medical sociology community on recent research in our field.

Coinciding with the publication of this issue, we have two exciting developments to report about our website (www.medicalsociologyonline.org). Firstly, our project to make available a complete Archive of all issues of Medical Sociology News (MSN) and Medical Sociology online (MSo) - dating back to the autumn of 1973 - is making tremendous progress. The Archive on the website now goes back as far as December 1985 (MSN Issue 11.1) and the remaining content will be added in the coming months, including the first ever issue of MSN.

Secondly, in what we believe is a first, many of the Poster Presentations from the York BSA MedSoc conference can now be viewed online. We see this as an innovative way of helping early career researchers gain the maximum exposure for their work and we look forward to publishing posters from other relevant conferences in the future.

Finally, we would like to extend out thanks to contributors and colleagues at the BSA and in the wider medical sociology community for their continued support.